Do not let negative things others tell you about breastfeeding keep you from experiencing this amazing connection with your new baby.
New moms have so many new challenges to concentrate on that it is no surprise some of these challenges get less attention than others do. When you first cradle your child in your arms after what was assuredly a stressful delivery no matter how it occurred, your priorities shift drastically. Chances are that soon after delivery you are encouraged to try to breastfeed your child with a nurse by your side to help you along. This starts a completely new aspect of mothering that can last for minutes or months. Many new moms start breastfeeding having heard horror stories from others, or some of the many misconceptions that are out there about nursing babies. Here are some of the most commonly heard misconceptions and the real answers behind them in simple terms.
If Breastfeeding Hurts, You are Doing it Wrong
If breastfeeding is a painful process for you, this means there is something wrong in the process. This does not mean you are doing something wrong. There are many variables when it comes to breastfeeding, from the latch, to the breast, to the shape of the baby’s mouth, and more. When nursing is painful it means there is something off, a piece of the perfect breastfeeding puzzle is missing, or has been put in the wrong spot. This is where a nurse certified as a lactation counselor or a lactation consultant can come in, find that missing puzzle piece, and put it into place making your experience pain-free. It is worth it to figure out the solution because the feeling you will get once you have mastered breastfeeding is priceless.
Be wary of a medical professional that tells you to stop breastfeeding. Much of the most common education in the last several decades has been that if breastfeeding is not working mothers should simply switch to formula without looking back. If you get this type of information from a nurse, doctor or other medical professional, ask to speak with a lactation consultant, or seek one out on your own. If you have challenges finding someone to help, start doing your own research online at sites like Kellymom.com.
You Cannot Take Any Medication While Breastfeeding
The bottom line is that it is healthier for your infant to receive breast milk with traces of medications that have been approved by your doctor who is aware that you breastfeed, than it is to give your infant formula. As long as you are up front with your medical care providers and tell them about every type of medication you take, both prescription and over the counter, and they approve of the medicines you can still breastfeed as long as you would like. Make sure you also remember to tell your doctor about any vitamins or supplements you take as well, because these are important to keep track of for not only safety during breastfeeding, but also to make sure they do not have any contraindications with the other medications you take. It is much more common for mothers to take medication while breastfeeding than you would expect.
If You Cannot Breastfeed for At Least Six Months, it Does You and Your Baby No Good
So often, women feel that because they do not want to breastfeed in the long-term, they should not even bother with it at all. Some reasons for this include the changes that might occur to the breast, the weaning process, and the time it takes for the milk supply to go away. Just like labor and delivery stores, there are plenty of breastfeeding horror stories. These scary stories can scare moms off who are on the breastfeeding fence. Even if you have no wish to breastfeed for months, or even weeks, each and every time you breastfeed your baby you are doing both you and your child a world of good. In the first days after birth, you are providing your baby with colostrum, not traditional mother’s milk. Colostrum is a golden hued liquid that is chock full of antibodies that are crucial to your child’s overall health and wellbeing. These antibodies allow your baby to fight off illnesses that their body could not handle otherwise. When you are breastfeeding, it also increases levels of oxytocin that then produces uterine contractions that help your body get back to its normal state quicker. So, even if you choose to breastfeed for only a week, or as little as a few days, it benefits both you and your child.
If your Baby Does not Gain Enough Weight, You Must Be Supplementing with Formula
This is a more modern concern, as generations ago before there was formula widely available doctors were much less likely to recommend supplementing. With more science comes more knowledge, and more caution when it comes to the most precious of gifts like our children. Both parents and doctors are very cautious to make sure children are healthy and happy and that includes babies bouncing back to their birth weight within days after delivery. Most doctors will look at the percentage of weight the baby has lost since birth, and then give a set period for that weight to return. If the percentage of weight lost is too high, say greater than five or 10 percent, doctors may recommend supplementing with formula to get the baby back to the desired weight. If you are concerned about this type of issue when you are looking for a pediatrician for your baby, ask about it and find out what guidelines the doctor follows. Ask him or her to explain the reasoning behind the guidelines discussed and see if they line up with your own personal philosophy. This is a time where it pays to be curious and to question care providers and get the answers you are seeking. Supplementing with formula is certainly necessary at times, but using your mother’s intuition will help guide you to the specifics of why it may or may not be the best choice for you and your baby.
If you Have Breast Implants you Cannot Breastfeed
There are several ways for breast implants to be placed and the specific types of placement can be better or worse for prospective breastfeeding. If you are considering getting breast augmentation and want to breastfeed future children someday discuss this concern specifically with your chosen cosmetic surgeon. If your breasts are already augmented and want to breastfeed with implants, you will have the best chances at success if your implants are under the muscle. The milk ducts in the breast are located over the muscle, so they may not be disconnected or destroyed if the implant is under the muscle. The biggest area for complications, however, is in the reshaping or placement of the areola, as often the movement of them to make a better appearance typically requires severing the connections between the nipple and the milk ducts. If you are unsure of the status of your own implants or how much was altered during your own breast augmentation contact your cosmetic surgeon’s office and express your concerns. Your obstetrician is another good resource who can help you figure out if you will be able to breastfeed with implants.